So what do you get when you take an arguably incompetent locomotive engineer, an unmanned freight train dangerously hurtling towards a highly populated Pennsylvania town and two train workers just trying to do their jobs? Pretty long question huh? Well the answer is much shorter…you get another film starring acting vet Denzel Washington and directed by Tony Scott which deals with trains. The two also worked together on last year’s remake, The Taking of Pelham 123. Known for his rapid fire sort of film making utilized in movies like Man on Fire and Domino, Scott puts together another action drama, Unstoppable.
28-year freight train veteran, Frank Barnes (Washington), finds himself partnered up with newcomer Will Colson (Chris Pine) for another day of hauling freight via Pennsylvania railway. The two’s initial relationship is questionable with expected errors by the young rookie conductor which are corrected with some added animosity by his much more experienced driver. They eventually get to know each other before discovering that a train headed in their direction is traveling without anyone at the wheel.
The rail company in charge of the train as well as the men on board the one in it’s path try different tactics in order to stop the out of control bullet but to no avail. After their own brush with the train tagged “777”, they decide to try to run it down themselves in an attempt to stop it.
Inspired by true events which took place in a 66-mile chase through the state of Ohio back in 2001, this film of course exaggerates the details of the real life mishap to add to the entertainment factor. The majority of the movie was of course filled with debates about how to handle the situation before it got any more out of control. At the helm of these debates were the train yardmaster, Connie Hooper, played by the always lovely Rosario Dawson and the VP of operations for the train company Oscar Galvin (Kevin Dunn). Their heated arguments make for most of the out of train drama in the film.
To me it didn’t seem like Washington and Pine needed much inspiration to take hold of these roles. Not saying the real life workers involved didn’t do anything important but the characters in the film didn’t call for any over the top dramatic interactions. They started the day for work, had some mini disagreements and then finally agreed on trying to be heroes. I feel as if there could have been many other actors that don’t have half the talent that Washington has and still would have nailed his part. But as always, he does bring that little extra zing to his part and the film.
Not too many off the wall special effects contained in this one but the train stunts at high speeds were pretty entertaining. Enough underneath-the-train camera angles to reinforce anyone’s fear of lying on train tracks and a helicopter rescue gone wrong. Some obvious spots of CGI made the stunts complete and put the cap on the film. Above everything else, the film spoke to me in such a way that should remind audiences that no matter what may going on between you and a love one, fighting or not, everything else fails in comparison in time of a tragedy. Don’t let them walk away without telling them you love them.
After finding myself rooting for the two unsuspecting workers trying to save the day, I give Unstoppable “3.5 bottom-of-the-train camera shots out of 5”.
“This ain’t training. In training they just give you an F**ck. Out here you get Killed. “